As you progress through high school, you may start picking harder courses, taking on leadership roles in your extracurricular activities, and working on challenging projects over the summer. You are probably even doing all of these while trying to find times to hang out with your friends and spend time with your families.
That’s when it hits you – stress. You’re stressed about getting a good grade. You may be anxious about your upcoming AP exams and finals. You’re worried if you’ll be accepted to the summer research you really want to do. For rising high school seniors, you’re stressed about the college admissions process on top of everything else.
In this article, Insight College Admissions Counselor Priya Singh shares some common causes for stress and what you can do to manage stress.
(Much more of a visual/audio learner? Check out Priya’s video HERE)
What causes stress?
There are many factors that cause stress. For one, it could be environmental. For example, if your desk is really cluttered, your brain is going to feel cluttered. Your stress level can go up when you can’t make sense of your physical space. Also, whatever you see in your environment gets mirrored in your brain. If you see a messy desk or a messy room, the dread of cleaning or the disorienting feeling of clutter can increase your stress level.
Keep a Good Posture
The other cause for stress is, surprisingly, your posture. When you’re sitting in a slumping fashion, you’re constricting the flow of your circulation. Let’s take a step back and think about how your body is structured. The main component of your body is your spine, and your energy runs through your spine. If you think about it, many people can survive without an arm or a leg. However, if something happens to your spine, your energy gets blocked. Think of your spine as a straw. When you tighten a rubber band around it, it’s harder to drink tea or boba through the straw. Therefore, keeping your body straight and stretching your spine are very important in stress management.
Why is your spine so important? Your biggest nerve runs parallel to your spine. It runs from the base of your skull and goes all the way to your legs. When you breathe, your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems get energized with your breaths.
Whenever you’re sitting for a prolonged period of time, take 5 minutes to do some breathing exercise. Inhale through your nose, feel the air pass through your throat, and fill your belly with air. After the long, slow inhalation, exhale just as slowly. Repeat this for 10-15 times. You can do these deep breathing exercises with your eye closed. Definitely do not do them while you’re on your phone scrolling through TikTok. The goal is to focus on your breathing and keep a quiet mind.
You should do this breathing exercise for every 45 minutes you spent studying or scrolling on your phone. It really helps to slow your heart rate and calm your mind. If you’re really short on time, you can do this during your drive or your morning shower. Doing this simple breathing exercise 6-7 times a day can be helpful in stress management.
Let’s not Forget about Exercising
Have you ever felt slow and tired after sitting at your desk for a while? That’s because your blood circulation slows down in your body when you stay in the same pose and concentrate for so long. It’s your body’s way of telling you, “Let’s change things up!”
The other important tool in stress management is physical exercise. There are many forms of exercise, and you can choose to do what makes you happy. For example, you can jog or power walk around your neighborhood during a study break. You can do stretches or yoga. The main goal is to increase blood circulation so that you feel energized.
Declutter your room, keep your posture straight, take deep breathes, and exercise. These practices may sound simple, but they are effective. It’s also important for you to understand that you’re not the only one feeling this way. Every student experiences anxiety before a big test like the AP exams or the final exams. We all feel stressed before a deadline, whether it’s college application or a work project. It’s important to learn healthy ways to cope with your stress, and we hope this helps you in your journey in your high school and college admissions journey. More importantly, we wish these insights help you in life.
Need help getting ready for your AP exams or studying for your finals? Check out our 1:1 private tutoring for AP and academic subjects for students of all grades.
Want to strategize your college admissions plan? Contact us to schedule a meeting with our College Admissions Counselor for a 1-hour personalized college planning session!
This article is written by Insight College Admissions Counselor Priya Singh.
Priya Singh is a College Admissions Counselor and also an avid yogi. She often uses yoga and meditation to help students with learning and stress management during the college admissions process. Since 2014, she has helped many high school students, including students with learning disabilities, to reach their best-fit schools. Read her full bio here.